365 days with Newton

20 JULY (PREACHED THURSDAY 20 JULY 1775)

Sending the Word to them, or them to the Word

‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.’ Acts 16:31
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Acts 16:11–40.

The context of this passage which we were just now reading affords us an instructive view of the Lord’s directing hand in disposing of his ministers and gospel according to his own good pleasure, and how he overrules the designs of his enemies to accomplish his own purposes in favour of his people. He knows them that are his, and when and where to find them. He knows how to send the Word to them or to send them to the Word, and one or the other he will do, when his time is come. Many who now believe and see what a dreadful case they must have been in if they had died in their sins, are often struck with wonder when they reflect on the first occasions that brought them to the knowledge. Some wonder that the gospel should be brought to them, rather than to the people of another town and parish, who were not more undeserving of it. Others wonder at the circumstances which first engaged them to hear it, for they can remember when they accounted it a burden and offence, and were ready to throw stones at any man that would trouble them with it. But it is his Word, he has promised that it shall not return void. He has a people in his eye, whom he designs to make willing in the day of his power [Psalm 110:3]—and all outward circumstances are ordered and disposed for their sakes.

FOR MEDITATION: O my Lord. What a series of wonders is my history! Wonders of mercy on thy part. Wonderful proofs of depravity on mine. Surely no one who reads this letter can surmise how far and how often I returned thee evil for good. I remember my faults and follies this day and fain would I praise thee for thy long-suffering and forbearance exercised for so many years towards a most undeserving creature!
Annotated Letters to a Wife, 4 August 1794

SERMON: ACTS 16:31 [1/4]

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